Today we celebrate the life of The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. He was a Christian who put his faith into action alongside The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Council. He endured bombings and beatings but prevailed in making America a more equal Union. More importantly, he helped to build-up the Kingdom of God when others stood silent.
There is a lesson in his ministry and life's work for us today as we face new difficulties that challenge the common good.
President Barack Obama, who never would have been elected president or even had the right to vote without the leadership of Rev. Shuttlesworth, said today:
Michelle and I were saddened to hear about the passing of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth today. As one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Shuttlesworth dedicated his life to advancing the cause of justice for all Americans. He was a testament to the strength of the human spirit. And today we stand on his shoulders, and the shoulders of all those who marched and sat and lifted their voices to help perfect our union.
I will never forget having the opportunity several years ago to push Reverend Shuttlesworth in his wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge – a symbol of the sacrifices that he and so many others made in the name of equality. America owes Reverend Shuttlesworth a debt of gratitude, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sephira, and their family, friends and loved ones.
So many times opponents of equality tried to kill this minister of the Gospel. We can be thankful he lived a full life - and lived to see the legacy of his struggles for freedom.